How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

After introducing the User Account Control in Windows Vista, Microsoft increased the security of its core system files by hardening its Effective Permissions. Most times,  to replace a System file, rename a System folder or a folder under the root C drive, you have to take ownership of the file or folder. Windows 7 onwards, system files and folders are owned by the Trusted Installer. So, even members of the Administrators group are restricted from modifying objects in it or changing permissions unless they have the ownership.

Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders

With the release of Windows 8 Microsoft has changed the way to Take Ownership a bit. On Windows 7, it is pretty much the same as what we saw in the pervious versions of Windows. There isn’t much difference even now - just that the screen has changed a bit and the way we take control has been changed, but the command line still remains the same. For instance on Windows 7 you have a Owner tab.

44809332ag4 thumb How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

We click on Edit, enter the Object name (Administrators or you Windows user name) or select your username from the list, and click OK to make changes.

But on Windows 8 Microsoft has removed the Owner tab and moved it to the top. See the following screenshot.

image thumb8 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

Also, under the Permission tab, when you add a new object, you have two different views - one, the Basic permissions andother one is Advanced permissions. Here is a screenshot of the Advanced permissions window.

image thumb9 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

How to Take Ownership on Windows 8

Now I’ll show you how to Take Ownership on Windows 8 Pro.

Step 1:

Right-click on the file or folder and go to Properties Windows. Under Properties click on “Security” Tab.

image thumb10 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

Step 2:

Now you can see in the above screenshot, you don’t have any permission to change it. In such cases you need to Take Ownership of the file or folder. To do so click on “Advanced”.

image thumb11 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

Step 3:

Next, in the windows that appears, you have to click on “Change” and enter the object name.

image thumb12 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

I typed in my Windows username and click “OK”. Now you will be able to see that the owner has changed to Shyam Sasindran.

Click on “Replace owner on subcontainers and object” and click Apply.

image thumb13 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

Once you click on Apply, you’ll see this warning message. Click on Yes to proceed.

image thumb14 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

Now you will need to click “OK” twice.

Next again click on Advanced.

Step 4:

Now under the Advanced permissions, you will see a change and you will see the option to add Multiple Objects

image thumb15 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

To add multiple object and to inherit permission you can click on “Change Permissions”.

image thumb16 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

To inherit permissions, click on “Enable inheritance”. To add a new object click on “Add” and click on “Select a Principal” and type in the Object name.

image thumb17 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

Now you can enable the Basic Permission. If you want to enable advanced permission, click on “Show advance permissions”.

image thumb18 How to Take Full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 8

Once you complete everything, click OK and close the Window.

You should be able to access that particular file or folder. Be careful when you alter the permission for System file or folder it may cause serious damage to your system and compromise security. So please create a system restore point first and then proceed with caution.

You can also use:

How to troubleshoot File and Folder Permission Issues in Windows may also interest you.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Shyam aka “Captain Jack” is a Microsoft MVP and a Windows Enthusiast whose area of expertise is Crash Dump Analysis and Advanced Windows troubleshooting. He has developed Windows based Tools like SF IE Restorator for troubleshooting Internet Explorer issues and SF Diagnostic Tool for collecting Crash dump files for troubleshooting purpose. He blogs at captaindbg.com.
  • Saif Ali

    Is there some registry script to do all those clicks for me? Copying and pasting data from drive to drive is a pain in the ass in win8 due to ownership differences.

  • Tài

    :D

  • Evan

    I like how you black out your email on all but one of the pictures.

  • kams

    This didn’t work for me :(

  • Kartik Sibal

    More Easy Way:
    visit 0007hacker.wordpress.com/

  • Angry Artist

    This is bullshit!!!! When I clicked “Change” it didn’t do shit!! And now the File’s gone altogether!! I worked hard to create that picture and now it’s gone!! How do I get it back and make it under my ownership?!
    Dammit…. :,(

  • jacquesRacine_962

    Did not solve my problem either and now I’m stuck with ownership of nothing

  • Kurt

    This just did not work, I had the same problem with Windows 7, I have 4 portable hard drives with information I cannot access,, why don’t microsoft just make a batch program so i can down load it and get access to my files I have folder match software to keep my work hard drive backed up to my back up hard drive and that will not work due to microsoft and their silly program. The bad part is there is really no other option so we are stuck in whatever microsoft wants to force down our throats.

  • kenneth

    you all do know that you can get TakeOwnershipEx.exe and that DOES work… well it at least worked for me :) its worth giving a look…

  • Robert

    The directions were not clear or straight forward. The process is quite convoluted BUT after not giving up and numerous attempts later I was able to retrieve a couple files. Will continue the process if I can remember how I did it to get the rest of the files from my old hard drive.

  • Robert

    The above is missing some steps. After trial and error I wrote down what I did so I have a record in the event I need to do this again. Here it is:

    -1- In Windows Explorer, right click on the folder you need to access, select Properties.
    -2- Security Tab, select Advanced.
    -3- Under Owner line, select Change.
    -4- Select Advanced Tab.
    -5- Select Find Now.
    -6- Under Search Results, a list of several users will populate the next window. You need to know the right one to select. In my case there were about 30 or so possible accounts to select from. Three of those made sense. It was either Administrator…, Administrators…, or my username@hotmail.com (or possibly a 4th, “Everyone”). I found the one that worked. The trick is to know who you need to select so that you assign permission correctly. It’s very cryptic because Microsoft populates the list with so many accounts that are on your computer. That’s just the way Windows 8.1 is. Select OK.

    -7- Under the Owner line (The Balloon from Step #3 above will reappear) select: Replace owner on subcontainers and objects. Select OK. *Be sure to do this step to save yourself time.

    -8- Have at it copying files from the password protected hard drive to your new hard drive.

    There were a couple stubborn files. In which case I did the above steps. Instead of step 7 I selected Apply. Next I had to select on Permissions (without exiting completely, go back to the balloon that appears from step #1 above. Then in the Balloon from step #2 above you will see the Permissions tab. Click “Continue” below Permissions (For some files you may have to go back a screen and then go back into the Security, Advanced, actions in step 2 above. If you go to far back to the point you have to right click properties, you will have to repeate steps 1-7 again.) Although I saw I was the new owner, I was not in a “Principal” in the list of of users. I had to select on the Add tab. Click on Principal: Select a principal. Do the same action as step 4-6 above. I had to be sure to select Full Control on the next window when it becomes available. Select OK on all subsequent tabs. It’s a little cryptic so have patience.
    The process will not likely be clear in the original posting so please be sure to follow my steps above and I wish you success.

  • Robert

    Kurt, try the steps I listed in my reply above. I hope it works out.

  • uragiri

    thanks to the power infinity for this intel !!!

  • Thusitha

    Thanks Great help to me

  • Thusitha

    Plz Explain about how to work with RegOwnIt

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    Hi, you find all you need to know about RegOwnIt here: http://www.thewindowsclub.com/regownit-take-full-control-windows-registry-keys :)

  • Ruben Hurtado

    Thanks man, your advice was spot-on and made a personal document transfer (XP “My Documents” folder) from my old hard drive quite easy. The instructions were very detailed. I would only advice that you move that recommendation to establish system restore point (and to avoid messing with the system folders) to the start or your article.

    Also, I tried this while I was in “Safe Mode”, I think it should be enabled in order for this to work.

  • Dan Walker

    THANK YOU!!!!!! it worked!!!!

  • Sam

    To ShysamS@TWS,
    thank you, thank you, thank you — it’s been 3 days of searching and following guides on this topic and yours has been the one that finally solved my problem:
    Champion!
    fr sam

  • Anita Kuchera

    Thank you so much! I have been trying to figure out how to fix this for over a year after purchasing my new computer. This is an external drive and I could get to some of the folders but could not get to any of my photos. I have searched before on what to do, but nothing made sense. I decided today I was going to get this fixed and found your steps which worked perfectly. Thanks again.

  • 7abib0

    SystemData folder is missing!! is it normal?

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    Full path?

  • codeslayer2010

    Thank you Shyam! This post was concise and to the point. It helped me a great deal with the “You must have administrator permission” errors, and I appreciate that you took the time to put in some great screenshots to really clarify things. Thanks again and blessings.

  • Tiger_words

    This is so stupid. I need to grant myself access to look at/access a file. I wish I had all the hours that this stupid aspect of Windows 8 has cost me. Hours.

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